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The #KLeagueFM18 Challenges: Citizens Unite! [Part 2]

You know it will be a good start to your management career when the headlines from your successful preseason camp is just highlights from the 0-3 to Incheon. However, we pick ourselves up and hope to 'Unite' for the start of the season. 

Previous Installments: Part 1

Round up

With the preseason going 4/6 wins the start wasn't as poor as I was expecting. Even if we didn't score a single goal against a Classic division team my hope isn't broken just yet. The players themselves seemed pretty content with their performances and I can't blame them averaging a 6.6 when losing 3-0 can't be too bad. This even had a upgrade on team morale surprisingly the loss might of been a bonding experience, lets not get too used to it.

Also some transfers were confirmed after the match with a couple of transfers out to balance the books so to speak. Kim Tae-Bong the former Anyang RB found himself on the next bus to Bucheon 1995 for £8.5k and only going downhill I was more than pleased to accept this. Next up was Kang Young-Je although he is 22 years old with some potential at CM, I don't see him getting into the first team any time soon especially with determination  skills of 1. He went for free to Changwon but for future 10% of his sale so I'm quietly hoping he ends up progressing.

The last transfer was a late capture of the Seongnam LB/RB in the form of Kwon Hyuk-Joon. He's not amazing and probably won't get much game time. But being able to play both sides of the pitch and only 22, for 14k he seemed like a okay pick up for the future especially with the players leaving. Transfer Rating 5/10 

The Season Begins


Season.jpg

The ultras had planned the banners bought the shirts, and got ready for the long trip to Ansan away for the first game of the season. I was pretty hopeful that this game would at least go well for the Daejeon boys, being that Ansan are a completely new team, I didn't have much to go off scouting wise but looking at their players. We looked like we were slightly better and if we really are to go up this year this would be a game to at least pick up a point.

I was interviewed by K League Challenge reporters before the season started, around 20 journalist were mean't to be there, but only 1 independent journalist turned up so at least it finished early to go drink soju I guess.

I was then presented with the bookmakers odds. Placing us at a estimated 6th position 14-1 to win the league, if Leicester can do it then why can't we? Seongnam being favorites was a bit unexpected but I suppose history over management.

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Onto the tactics even with our lackluster display in front of goal last time around, I still feel the 4-3-3 deserves a chance but with some slight tweaks to our set piece organisation after the Bunoza show last week.

Before the match a media report came out that Jeonnam Dragons had signed Pohang attacking mid, Lee Gwang-Hyuk for £550k. The reporters asked me what my opinion was in the 'prematch interview', nice to know that they cared more about that than the start of our mighty rise to power. However it does cover up my overspending so go on Jeonnam!

Our team line up for my first professional match -

First Match.jpg

I kept the same line up from Incheon friendly but if things go the same way, you can expect some changes. My main concern from this match was the influence of Bahodir Nasimov the Uzbekistan national is one of most valued players in the league.

The plan was simple control the midfield, wait for the on running wingers and full backs, hope to god that Moon Chang Hyun can find his shooting boots.

First Match Ansan Away


First half analysis, where to start it was an example of what I'm already fearing for this season. Lots of control and plenty of shots closer to the corner flag than the top corner. Credit to Ansan they had defended fairly well seemingly countering my tactic with the holding midfielder for the first 30 minutes. Then our midfield class shown through with 5 noteworthy chances being created but Chang-Hyun couldn't convert leading to him having a rating of 6.3. Team talk went well my butchered attempt at Fighting! seemed to work.

Onto the second half with the only change being the 160k Gwan-Pyo on for Hwang In-Beon due to a knock. Hope was restored! In the 59th minute the ball was flying around and was bundled to the overlapping Chan-Hee who slotted into the bottom right. The fans were going mental, I'm pretty sure I even heard a rendition of Girls Generation  "Hee, Hee, Hee, Hee, Hee baby baby" coming from the 233 strong away section.

The match was all but finished in the 75th when Park Dae-Hoon with his first touch after coming on from a long ball, that divided the back line and he runs on to slot coolly into the corner. The icing would of been on the cake if in the 90th a Kim Jin-Kyu penalty was converted. However he misses it and hurts his leg... The match drew to a close with an clear 2-0 coast to victory for the start of the season.

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MoTM Kim 'Girls Generation' Chan-Hee, look at his cheeky post match grin.
Image Courtesy of http://news.khan.co.kr

After that excellent performance players spirits are high and we might fly our way to title contenders Seongnam at this rate.

Going into Seongnam at home


Our clinical second half performance at Ansan filled me with confidence for this season, albeit extremely early on signs are looking positive. However so do our next opponents, bookies favorites Seongnam come into this game after a close 3-2 home victory against Busan, 10,861 people attended and they say the Challenge is where teams die. On a serious note Seongnam do look the real deal this year, the signings during preseason have been nothing but amazing. Getting in the ex-Monaco man of Traore to spearhead their attack is going to be a concern for our small defence, but we do have the power of the 'Purple Arena'.

A few squad changes for this match, with Seongnam being more formidable attackers than Ansan. Decided to bring Park Joo-Sung in, yes he is 33 but the defensive experience might be what we need here. Making his first start debut is Gwan-Pyo played quite well in the 45 minutes and might have the passing ability to be vital here.

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As you can see the overall line up isn't considerably changed and the same philosophy will be played even though they're a better team. A key for this game should be whether we can control the midfield, or if the deep Seongnam line could cause us to stall out.  Bonus note - Nice to see the fans seem to be warming to me with 2968 attending.

Kick off


The game kicks off at a fast pace with 5 shots within the first 20 minutes, and the end to end stuff doesn't end there. A superb channel run by Chang-Hyun drags the covering full back off of Chan-Hee allowing our new talisman the space to control the ball, bearing on goal he shoots low and hard to the bottom corner, half the stadium thinks it's in the echos of the new song Hee-Hee-Hee-Hee come out. I't wasn't meant to be. His shot clips the side of the post and ends up going out for a goal kick. I was sad but not much as I would be after the resulting goal kick, booted up the field by the goalkeeper it finds the boot of Filip Hlohovsky. The Slovakian looks nonthreatening until he releases a cross into the box causing a calamity that allows Lee Seong-Woo to prod home for 1-0.

In the space of a few seconds the game had turned.  First half score 1-0. After that blow of a goal we weren't able to return to our attacking ways, hopefully getting them in for a passionate speech will help.

Second half kicks off with nothing much changing just a very inspired team talk, Seongnam look like they're happy to sit back now with a even deeper back line that originally. This causes nothing to happen till the 71st minute when the ball falls to none other than Chan-Hee again but yet again he fires wide. He will be working on finishing next week mark my words.

The match drags on until the 90th when we have a half chance but it was easily blocked and that was it. Our first home match and our first loss, looks like my 1 game prediction of promotion is looking shaky.

Walking into the dressing room, the only answer I could tell them was it was just one of those days. Which in fairness it was it had a hint of Incheon to that game, but overall I think as long as we play that way over the season we should be candidates.

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Glimpse into the Daejeon fans after that undeserved loss..
(Image courtesy of ED JONES/AFP/GettyImages) 


Last but not least Seoul E-Land


Covering only 3 games in this part due to the round up and closing of transfers. Luckily our next fixture is another home game, against a team who two games into the season have the same points as us. Seoul E-Land are quite a mid table Challenge team historically so in all honestly I'm expecting a first home win to come here. They have bought well over the preseason with bringing in some ACL winning experience in the defence.

Tactically this should be quite an interesting match as well with both teams playing a 4-3-3 formation, so it should be fast paced game, with that in mind Moon Chang-Hyun keeps his place even with his 6.2 average rating. He is changing position though to be more advanced on the pitch.

Tactics.jpg Tactics for the match against Seoul E-Land

Good news for Daejeon fans, Kim Young-Kwang the E-Land goalkeeper was called in as emergency back up for the national team. This should be a slight advantage if we are able to capitalize by having more shots.

Kick off


We started pretty poorly by being counter attacked by their 3 strikers within the first 10 minutes leading to a chance for the E-Land striker which was fortunately wasted. 27th minute its wing to wing action! As Chan-Hee cross high looping over the stretching back line right into the on rushing Rae-Se to knock in for 1-0.

34th minute our lead didn't last long as Alex lifts the ball over my defence finding Baek Ji-Hoon free to easily score, looked offside to me but with no VAR it's hard to tell. 1-1 scoreline.
45th minute already walking back down the tunnel, getting the oranges ready when a pass by Ji-Hoon carves my defense open right onto the path of Ko Min-Hyeok to smash past us. 2-1 E-Land, The dream start has turned into a nightmare, get them in at half time and change up the system.

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Half time saw us switch to a 4-1-2-3, we seemed incapable of handling the 3 strikers so dropping a midfielder a bit deeper might solve this problem. At least I hope and Gwan-Pyo is going into the game.

AND ITS IN! The half time changed didn't seem to be going our way for 45 minutes until the 90th when, the ball makes it way to the center of the field. With the desperate noise of Shoottt coming from the stands, Hwang In-Beon wanted by Seoul sneaks it in under the flailing arm. 2-2 in the 91st!

Final score 2-2 against Seoul E-Land, on paper I had predicted a win but going in to the 90th 1 point is better than nothing.

That point gives us 4 points out of a possible 9, I'm not entirely happy and neither are the 2,224 fans who wanted to see a first home win but we keep on. Already clinging onto the playoff spot 3 games in something I expect to see for a while now.

TL:DR


3 games 3 different results and a lot of disappointment and excitement welcome to the wonderful world of Korean football


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